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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

AUTHORITY    AND   THE    INDIVIDUAL
which modern technique has introduced between
organization and human nature, or, to put the matter
in another way, the divorce of the economic motive
from the impulses of creation and possession. Having
stated this problem, I shall examine what can be done
towards its solution, and finally I shall consider as a
matter of ethics the whole relation of individual
thought and effort and imagination to the authority
of the community.
In all social animals, including Man, co-operation
and the unity of a group has some foundation in
instinct. This is most complete in ants and bees,
which apparently are never tempted to anti-social
actions and never deviate from devotion to the nest
or the hive. Up to a point we may admire this un-
swerving devotion to public duty, but it has its
drawbacks; ants and bees do not produce great works
of art, or make scientific discoveries, or found reli-
gions teaching that all ants are sisters. Their social
life, in fact, is mechanical, precise and static. We are
willing that human life shall have an element of
turbulence if thereby we can escape such evolutionary
stagnation.
Early Man was a weak and rare species whose
survival at first was precarious. At some period his
ancestors came down from the trees and lost the
advantage of prehensile toes, but gained the advantage
of arms and hands. By these changes they acquired the
advantage of no longer having to live in forests, but
on the other hand the open spaces into which they
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